When Matt Reeves signed on to direct the sequel to the well-made film Rise of the Planet of the Apes, I was instantly excited. Reeves hasn’t made a lot of films but his small body of work showcases so much talent and potential that it’s safe to say that he is someone to lookout for. Now that ‘Dawn’ is finally here he has yet another chance to show that he really knows what he is doing. This movie takes everything that was fantastic about the first and expands upon it making one of the best films of 2014, as well as one of the best sequels in cinema history. This is the Dark Knight of the Ape franchise, meaning it is far superior to its predecessor in every way. From the phenomenal visual effects that should garner an Oscar nod, to the jaw-dropping performance given by the legend of motion-capture acting, Andy Serkis; Dawn is one not to miss.
This movie should be the bar that all other summer blockbusters reach for. This is even more proof (Edge of Tomorrow) that big summer films don’t have to be mindless drivel (Michael Bay, I’m talking to you!). Set aside the obvious aspects of this movie; the apes, the war with man, the remarkable visuals and what you see is a movie that has so much more happening. It is a commentary on blind hatred towards certain groups of people or entities that we simply don’t understand. There are internal power struggles amongst both humans and apes showing that those we might see as so different are more like us than we might realize or even care to admit. Through this comparison it also shows that quarrels, and even full blown wars, are often a matter of miscommunication. As the movie progresses we see similarity after similarity and because of this a sort of bridge begins to form connecting the apes and humans together. Their parallels are fully realized by the time the climax is reached and the war has begun, and the connection that is formed with both human and ape makes the war all the more tragic. There is so much they could learn from one another, but through the coercion of a certain few, a single misunderstanding sets the stage for all out bloodshed and mayhem.
Years after the incident on the Golden Gate Bridge, the world has turned to darkness as mass casualties have nearly eradicated the human race. The blame, for many, lies on the backs of the apes as it was the “simian flu” that nearly ended human existence. Needless to say, relationships with the apes are strained, to put it mildly. When the humans that survived the outbreak are suddenly in great need of a solution to their dwindling supply of fuel, they get the idea of starting up an old dam to provide them with power. Unfortunately for them the dam is located deep in ape territory and neither side is happy about it. A select few enter the ape sanctum and plead for temporary asylum so they can fix and power up the dam. Uneasy, but willing to give the humans a chance, lead ape Caesar (Serkis) agrees to let them enter the dam. Despite proving that neither side wants conflict, a specific few can still only see the enemy they have hated for years and nothing short of extinction will assuage this yearning for war from either side. This world is now a ticking time bomb and very soon it is going to explode.
There is so much talent and effort put into this film and you notice it so much. The apes are so well realized and it’s mesmerizing to watch such photorealistic images moving and interacting with real people and set pieces. Matt Reeves took a great script and brought it to life with the help of thousands to create this epically prodigious piece of cinema. I can’t forget that despite the creativity that went into the film it would all be for naught if the cast had been ill-constructed. Luckily the cast is wonderful, with Serkis at the heart of the film that brings along Jason Clarke’s character and shows him the world of the apes. Clarke is always great in any role he does and to me he seems so effortless. He’s simply natural and relatable and thus entertaining and enthralling to watch as is this movie. There are no problems big enough with this movie to even mention and so with that I just say; please see this movie and have one hell of an experience.
Rated PG-13 For: intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief strong language
Run Time: 130 minutes
After Credits Scene: None
Starring: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Kodi Smit-McPhee
Directed By: Matt Reeves
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 4.5/ Acting: 5/ Directing: 5/ Visuals: 5
OVERALL: 5 Nerdskulls
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